Delaware North Strengthens Operational Leadership
Delaware North has announced changes to the leadership of Delaware North Sportservice, its travel division and Australian subsidiary following a realignment of its group operating structure.
All three appointees will continue to report to group chief operating officer and executive vice president, Jim Houser.
James Obletz has been appointed president of Delaware North Sportservice, with Sportservice COO, Joe Sims, reporting directly to him.
Obletz has served as president of Delaware North’s Travel division since January 2020, leading it through the pandemic by successfully working in partnership with airport clients, effectively repositioning the business and executing upon its post-pandemic resumption strategy. He will now lead Delaware North Sportservice, which provides concessions, premium dining, catering and retail services to more than 50 sports and entertainment venues in the United States.
He also previously served as Delaware North’s senior vice president of corporate development, during which time he guided several key corporate development and acquisition efforts across the company’s U.S. and international subsidiaries.
Prior to joining Delaware North in 2016, Obletz worked as an executive director in the investment banking division at J.P. Morgan. He began his career in 2003 with M&T Bank in Buffalo as a banking officer after graduating with honors and a degree in economics from Boston College. He later earned an MBA from Columbia Business School, where he studied corporate finance.
Bob Wilson will continue as a group president, with new responsibility for the Travel division while continuing to oversee the Patina Restaurant Group, led by Chris Harter as president, and the company’s United Kingdom operations, which continue under Doug Tetley as managing director.
Wilson will now oversee Delaware North’s travel business of food service and retail operations at 25 U.S. airports. He joined Delaware North in 2018, leading the company’s operational excellence efforts and has since also provided vital leadership for Sportservice and Patina Restaurant Group during both the pandemic and business resumption. Patina is a leader in the premium segment of the restaurant and catering industry, operating destination restaurants in New York, California and Florida, and recently operating food and beverage services at the PGA Championship. Wilson also oversees Patina’s key relationship with Disney for the restaurants that operate at Epcot, Disney Springs and Downtown Disney.
Prior to joining Delaware North, Wilson served as chief executive officer of GoodWest Industries LLC, a company providing turnkey and customized beverage solutions to more than 30,000 food service locations. He spent five years as vice president of North America consumer sales and marketing for Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget (SCA), a $13 billion global personal care products company based in Sweden. Prior to that he held senior management positions with Aramark.
He earned an MBA degree with a specialization in finance from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and a Bachelor of Science degree in economics with a major in marketing from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
Scott Socha will continue as a group president, with new responsibility for Delaware North’s Australia operations, which continue under Gary Brown as managing director, as well as continuing to oversee the Parks and Resorts division, with Parks COO, Derek Zwickey, reporting to him.
Socha will now also oversee Delaware North’s operations in Australia, which includes food and beverage operations at airports and in sports and entertainment venues, including the Australian Open at Melbourne & Olympic Parks, as well as management of destination lodging such as Lizard Island Resort on the Great Barrier Reef.
He will continue to oversee Delaware North’s Parks and Resorts division, which he has led since 2017. The division provides hospitality services in seven national parks, three state parks, operates Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex for NASA, and owns and operates lodging in five national park gateway communities. Socha has guided the division’s recent growth, including the development of the Explorer Cabins at Tenaya and acquisition of an additional lodging property outside Yellowstone National Park. He led the reopening of the company’s parks operations during the pandemic and guides the division’s client relationships.
Since joining Delaware North in 1999, Socha has served in key operational, financial and business development leadership roles, including as a corporate vice president and the company’s treasurer. He has an MBA in finance from the University at Buffalo and an undergraduate degree in business from St. John Fisher College in Rochester.
Jim Houser comments: "These important leadership appointments will help Delaware North achieve our objectives as we move past the impacts of the pandemic and build on the recent positive momentum for the rest of 2021 and beyond.
"This realignment demonstrates our internal bench strength and continued approach of cross-division management to further strengthen leadership of our different business lines."